In 1655 Elizabeth Key, the daughter of a white man and an African woman held in slavery, sued for her freedom.
She won because under Virginia law at the time, a child inherited the father’s status.
The law, however, was quickly changed. As slavery became more rigidly enforced in the 1660s, some African American women risked their lives by joining slave revolts.
Most slaves were of African descent, but a few women captured in Native American uprisings were sold into slavery in the Caribbean.
Other women, captured in wars between Native American tribes, were used as slaves by their conquerors and sometimes sold to European soldiers and traders.
In the Southwest, some Pueblo women were forced to work for the Spanish.
White women were not sold as slaves, but many poor English women agreed to work for five to seven years as indentured servants in return for payment for their trip to America.
They helped with farm work and in the house hold. Afterward they usually married.